Having already reviewed the worlds best swim short brands, we now focus on the shorts themselves. Which are the best designer swim shorts, or trunks, for men for your next vacation?
Swim shorts are the ideal attire for poolside stylishness without revealing everything. I can’t bear seeing men in tight swimwear which reveals all. I don’t know where to look! Equally, G-string bikini-style bottoms for men also seems very, very wrong around a luxury hotel pool, which is why I think it is important to focus in on swim shorts, ideally designer, that fit well and don’t balloon in the water.
We have created a comprehensive guide to the very best designer swim shorts on the market, comparing and contrasting all of the key aspects of swim short look and design from active-wear shorts such as those from Ralph Lauren to more sophisticated drawstring swim shorts such as those made by relative newcomer Ripa Ripa.
Finding the Best Swim Shorts for You
The perfect designer swim short should, first and foremost, fit in a way that suits how you choose to wear your clothes whether that be loose, fitted or ‘regular’. Many well-established brands continue to use garment patterns which have not been modernised for decades and thus are based on body shapes from older generations. For this reason, we recommend that you choose brands which use a contemporary pattern which is more likely to give you a fit in tune with your aspirations.
The look, length, cut and material are all essential to consider when picking the perfect short. The very best swim shorts are sewn beautifully and use quality fabric that will keep its color and shape, even in the water. With this in mind, we list the 10 best swim shorts in the world below.
1. Ripa Ripa
Ripa and Ripa produce the classiest Italian swim shorts imaginable. Ripa Ripa is the brainchild of an Oliviero and Anna Laura who found it difficult to find what they considered to be stylish swim shorts and they now produce some of the most stylish swim shorts in the world.
The Italians are, of course, known for their style, and these shorts showcase the best in Italian style. We just love the material, the finish, the look and the patterns on the high-quality fabric and My husband and son swear by these shorts as one of their top pool-side choices when we stay at magnificent luxury hotels.
Anna and Oliviero have many customers who buy three pairs of shorts every summer and send them pictures and Ripa & Ripa is now sold in some of the most up-market stores in Europe, like La Rinascente in Milan.
We love the fact that Ripa & Ripa is made in Italy, using small producers, from rope manufacturers to fabric printers. Each offer Italian passion and conviction that is passed on through their products. This means these swim shorts are of exceptional quality and, as mentioned above, don’t balloon in the water as they have a slick, glove-like fit, but are not too tight. They just offer the right amount of support and stiffness in the material to maintain their shape in the water.
Taking its name from the city’s famous Ripa di Porta Ticinese and Ripamonti where their co-founders spent most of their time, Ripa Ripa have redesigned the drawstring swim short for a tailored cut that offers sartorial detail, maximum comfort and sophistication. This season, bold graphics meet the sunkissed hues of the Italian Coast in Ripa Ripa’s signature tailored swim trunks.
We adore their gorgeous Monterosso Giallo/Celeste swim shorts which uses striking blue and yellow strips with a flattering fit. Made from soft, brushed fabric that is quick-drying and has a distinctive soft cotton-feel, these shorts feature tying-cord made from braided nautical rope and fine-mesh interlining. They are hand-crafted in Portici, Italy and showcase the Ripa Ripa Medi-terranean chic style and are very reasonably priced at £98.
2. Ralph Lauren
If it’s logos you want, you can’t beat Ralph Lauren so my other top choice is Ralph Lauren which is perfect for seaside adventures and those who are looking for activewear with a stylish brand. Ralph Lauren’s swim shorts add classic style to your poolside look and are easily recognisable with a nice fit. I dress my son in Ralph Lauren t-shirts and my husband looks great around the pool in his Ralph Lauren shorts with the classic pony logo on the side. That is, when he’s not wearing his Ripa Ripa shorts. One wouldn’t want to suffer the shame of wearing two pair of the same shorts to the pool for 2 days in a row!
We love the Carribean theme of their stylish 14 cm-Inch Traveller Swim Trunk. Hit the beach in pure Polo style with these mesh-lined swim trunks, which feature a vibrant print inspired by the beautiful shores of Hawaii. They feature an elasticated drawstring waistband and are finished with the signature Polo Pony motif. These shorts are perfect for holiday adventures and have an interior mesh brief for added comfort.
I have a Vilebrequin beach bag which I love and religiously take down the beach. It is always full of sand, which probably makes this handbag the happiest handbag in the world. If you and your family love the beach, Vilebrequin have a lovely collection of long surfer-style shorts. We like their shorts with turtles on them for £185. These WaterColour Turtle Shorts are bright, vibrant and lovely!
4. Protest Surf Shorts
Protest is my favourite surf and ski brand. Their ski gear is durable and looks super cool. Their surf gear is whimsical with pictures of Hawaiian sunsets and palm trees encompassing everything that makes me happy about beaches and, well, surfing.
The quality of all their clothing is incredible. It lasts and lasts. My son is almost exclusively kitted out in their blue and grey t-shirts which bring out his blue eyes, and the necks never stretch out of shape which is an incredible feat for a young teen.
You won’t find better shorts than their board shorts. Go plain, go striped, they all look great underwater or on the beach and they are remarkably good value at around £50.
5. Orlebar Brown Bulldog Swim Shorts
I am in love with these Orlebar Brown swim shorts. The cut is really excellent and tailored, you get the ‘Bulldog’ logo, but most of all, these shorts showcase the Monaco Grand Prix! We are such fans of Monte Carlo. The glamor, the luxury, the excitement. We have stayed in all the best hotels in Monaco and if you are a slight fan of the South of France, these shorts are for you.
Get raring to dive in with these Classic mid-length men’s swim shorts depicting race cars at the start of the Grand Prix de Monaco in Monte Carlo, Monaco, 1956 (photo by Thomas McAvoy/The LIFE Picture collection/Getty Images).
The tailored swim short is where it all began for Orlebar Brown; we have four different lengths, each crafted from 60 elements and designed to give you effortless style wherever you are. Based on the pattern of a traditional man’s tailored trouser and crafted from quick-drying recycled nylon fabric with signature side-fasteners to adjust, our OB Classic swim shorts offer the perfect blend of form and function. Not just a swim short—it’s a short you can swim in.
Buy them and wear them in Monaco!
Who doesn’t love Gucci? I treasure my Gucci handbags, but did you know they make Gucci swim shorts too? These are, of course, fantastic quality and are fully logo-ed up, but at around 280 Euros, you would expect a certain level of loveliness.
7. Tom Ford
Talking of Gucci, Thomas Carlyle Ford is an American fashion designer, film director, screenwriter, and film producer. He launched his eponymous luxury brand in 2006, having previously served as the Creative Director at luxury fashion houses Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent.
Some argue that his influence produced some of Gucci’s best pieces so you will be delighted to hear that he now produces swim shorts although they aren’t much cheaper than Gucci’s own trunks, so I would tend to go for the Gucci logo over the subtleties of Tom Ford. His latest collection is not overly inspiring.
Moncler is an abbreviation of Monastier de Clermont, the Alpine village where the brand was founded. Their paisley swimming trunks feature an elasticated drawstring waist and side snap button pocket with silicone logo plaque. Priced at £270, these navy and black swim shorts are attractively decorated with the paisley printed pattern and logo appliqué.
I mainly buy my Burberry from the duty-free store at London’s Heathrow airport in Terminal 5, just near the entrance of the British Airways First Class Lounge along with their Galleries Business Class lounges in the terminal. Expertly constructed from high-quality cotton, the ‘Check Drawcord’ swim shorts from Burberry provide the classic Burberry swim shorts in a classic Burberry check as well as different shades. Gorgeous and of the highest quality and they cost £200.
This flamboyant couture brand offers contemporary designs with a vivacious edge. We really like the ‘Japanese Pond’ print swim trunks from Valentino as they are bold and eye-catching. At £350 these shorts are on the more expensive side, however, the striking colours and elegant design make for a really trendy pair of swim trunks.
Disclosure: Most reviews are sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.